Dear Chief: You’re Out of Touch!

images-1A Note From the Ranks and a Response

“Dear Chief,

“I’ve been a police officer for 20 years, all of it on the street, and I am not providing my [personal]information because I don’t want this published. I would however like to respond to your article. [My Note: I assume it is this article.] 

“You are suggesting that the [deleted] Police Department needs to reduce its use of force. I believe you are out of touch with the streets. Officers are being assaulted at an ever-increasing rate.

“There is a generation in their teens now who simply lack a filter, a conscience, that don’t think twice about pulling the trigger on anyone, including cops. Police officers respond to the threat based on the totality of the circumstances, and we would most certainly be held accountable if the use of force was not reasonable.

“How could you possibly suggest a lesser use of force in general? Are cops supposed to take a beating and be near death before we respond? The investigation into the shooting of Robinson isn’t even complete, yet your article suggests the officer was wrong?

“The last time you submitted an article was after the shooting of [deleted], an article that was not in support of law enforcement. You managed to promote your book then too.”

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Dear Officer,

I am sorry that you feel that I am not in support of police. My blog addresses the whole field of policing and includes many followers in Europe and other countries, not just your city.

My opinion is that we must find ways other than using deadly force in handling standoffs not involving firearms. My blog posts are quite clear on this and they have addressed this problem many times during the last three years it has existed.

My opinion also is that the legal decision surrounding the shooting of Paul Heenan some months ago was correct. The officer met the legal standard. My concern was whether or not what he did was moral. Was it the right thing to do?

And yes, I continue to promote my book because it consists of the things I learned during and after my policing career. I can assure you I “promote” this book for the purpose of entering my ideas considered and discussed. I hope you have read it as well as follow my blog. I think there’s some good material for police in it. It also addresses what the community is thinking — and that’s very important for a professional police officer.

While none of us know the facts surrounding the Robinson shooting, I am saying that police must do everything possible NOT to shoot unarmed people. And I am not only talking about the person shot, but also for the sake of those who do the shooting.

Being a 20-year veteran police officer, I am sure you have mastered the ability to slow things down whenever possible in conflict situations. Many police shootings appear to lack this element and end up tragically.

I have argued that new, less-than-lethal methods, mechanisms, and associated training must be developed. I don’t think that our nation’s police can continue this practice without suffering a loss of community trust and support. The shooting of unarmed individuals must be curtailed.

If police fail to fix this national problem I am afraid that they will soon find themselves in a most difficult situation and one not conducive to policing our democracy. If this happens, their job will become even more difficult and dangerous.

I would love to sit down with you over a cup of coffee and discuss your thoughts and feelings further. I am open to listening and even changing my thinking. Would that be possible? If so, please call or email me.

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  1. Is policing more dangerous than I experienced during my career?
  2. Are officers being assaulted at greater rate than I experienced?
  3. Do today’s teens lack a conscience and don’t think twice about “pulling the trigger”?
  4. Where are the data to suggest these statements are true?